«Natalie Grant A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) Course ...»
Text, movement and music: an
annotated catalogue of (selected)
percussion works 1950 - 2006
A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of
the requirements for the degree of
Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) Course #734
School of Music, Victorian College of the Arts
1 November, 2006
Declaration of Authenticity
This is to certify that:
This thesis contains no material which has been accepted for the award of any
other degree or diploma in any University, and is between 8,000 and 10,000 words in length.
To the best of my knowledge and belief, this thesis contains no material previously published or written by another person, except where due reference has been made.
jfoJroJM. %0oJr N. Grant Musick and Poetry have ever been acknowledg'd Sisters, which walking hand in hand, support each other; As Poetry is the harmony of Words, so Musick is that of notes; and as Poetry is a Rise above Prose and Oratory, so is Musick the exaltation of Poetry. Both of them may excel apart, but sure they are most excellent when they arejoyn'd, because nothing is then wanting to either of their Perfections for thus they appear like Wit and Beauty in the same Person.1 Henry Purcell (1659-1695) The percussion acts as a central heating system •2 Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Josiah Fisk (ed.), Composers on Music — Eight Centuries of Writings, Northeaster's University Press, 1997, p. 23 ~ Max Wade-Matthews, Wendy Thompspn The Encylopedia of Music, Hermes House, 2003, p. 188 Contents Acknowledgements 1
1. Introduction 2
2. Background 4
3. Australian percussion: text, movement and music
4. Catalogue of music for percussion with extra-musical 10
elements 1950 - 2006:
Notes on the catalogue 11 i. Movement 12 ii. Theatrical elements 18 iii. Text and movement 23 iv. Political text 26 v. Text from literature 32 vi. Onomatopoeic text 38 vii. Text influenced by non-western cultures 41 viii. Communicative text 46 ix. Imaginary instruments or set-ups 47 Bibliography 49
AcknowledgementsThe following dissertation is the culmination of my own study guided by the inspired
direction and gracious help of severalpeople:
I thank my supervisor, Joan Pollock, for her insightful and helpful comments throughout
the researching and writing processes. Also Victorian College of the Arts staff members:
Elizabeth Mitchell, head of honours; Peter Neville, head of percussion; and VCA percussion students 2003-2006 - for their support and interest in my project.
I thank all the composers whose works feature in this dissertation, as their pieces inspired my research. In particular I would like to mention Graeme Leak, for igniting my interest in 'performance pieces' through his own wonderful works.
Timothy Phillips, Erik Griswold, Paul Sarcich, Jerome Kitzke, Veronika Krausas, Michael Askill, Russel Hartenberger and Bill Cahn have also been very helpful when approached for information regarding their pieces. Their willingness to discuss their works has provided invaluable first hand information.
Percussionists Guy du Blet and Ron Colbers were also forthcoming with information about repertoire they'd come across, and I thank them for their time.
This dissertation takes the form of an annotated catalogue of percussion works incorporating text and/or movement. The topic has grown out of my personal experience in performance of percussion repertoire with prescribed motion, spoken word, dance and/or singing. As a student and performer with a particular interest in such works I have found it difficult to access comprehensive sources of information regarding this literature.
The purpose of the study is to produce a resource that provides better access to information on this kind of repertoire for both percussion students and professionals.
The research I have undertaken includes: a review of literature, scores, articles and recordings documenting the history of this genre; a search for music featuring voice and/or movement with percussion, composed or published from 1950-2006; and analyses of such works.
Over fifty musical scores and examples were located from major libraries, music publishers, and selected composers. Of these, thirty-three works were analysed and categorised by the type of extra-musical elements they include. The results show the following characteristics in the studied works: movement (7), theatrical elements (6), text and movement (3), political text (4), text from literary sources (7), text imitating instrument sounds (3), text from non-western cultures (4), works with narrative (1), works with imaginary set ups or instruments (2).
The body of the dissertation is in accordance with the above categories. I have found very little written on the subject, and many of the works themselves are relatively new (some having been performed only once or twice). Much of my research has by necessity made use of the internet as the newer works have yet to be discussed in any percussion
anthologies. This has been both a problem and an inspiration for further research:
gathering detailed information for percussionists of like mind so that they may have better access to this repertoire.
relatively new (some having been performed only once or twice). Much of my research has by necessity made use of the internet as the newer works have yet to be discussed in any percussion anthologies. This has been both a problem and an inspiration for further research; gathering detailed information for percussionists of like mind so that they may have better access to this repertoire.
Throughout the research process I came across a number of works that for varying reasons did not completely fulfill my requirements. Generally these were works that may have featured only one prescribed action or flourish, or a single (token) spoken word or line. I could not identify these as works that truly incorporated text and/or movement, and consequently omitted them. There are, however, three works listed in the catalogue that are not strictly 'percussion' works: As Quiet As...(p.12) and Clogwork Orange by Timothy Phillips (p.14), as well as Hazel Smith's Serpent Ex Spearhead (p.34). After much deliberation over the nature of these works, and whether they are more rhythm-based performance pieces than percussion works, I have included them as prime examples of what may be achieved when the composer is not restricted by conventional instruments or themes. I have also included some works that feature instruments other than percussion, but where percussipn is the main focus.
My hope is for my research to provide an important addition to twentieth century percussion literature. I aim for it to better acquaint percussionists with a greater variety of works involving text and/or movement, and therefore make possible the inclusion of more of these works in performance programs.
2, Background "In no section of the orchestra has there been a greater change in the design of instruments than in the realm of percussion" comments James Blades in his book Percussion Instruments and Their History.1 Music for percussion evolved significantly throughout the 20 th century, and as the instruments themselves have advanced, the number of new solo and chamber compositions has increased dramatically. Percussion is finally being seen as a viable mechum for composition.
In addition to the growing use of the 'normal' percussion instruments (for example: snare drum, timpani), composers have increasingly looked to "explore the possibilities of unusual devices and novel instruments". 2 The 20 th century also saw the development of another element, more closely associated with the composition and performance of percussion works than with the instruments themselves - theatre.
Percussionists in the 1920s were seen as 'one-man bands' and 'jack of all trades', providing the innumerable sound effects required for silent cinema or variety theatre (in addition to being able to cope with all the orchestral drum parts). Blades recounts that "most knockabout comedians and comedic theatre performers required bumps and bangs calling for varying effects - snare drum rolls, cymbal crashes and so on - intermingled with the inevitable siren or motor horn". 3
Numerous effects required for the screen demanded such equipment as:
wind machine, rain machine, thunder sheet, a tray of broken glass, dog bark, bull roar, cylinder of compressed air for the imitation of rushing water, blowing of tug boat whistles and fog-horns etc. Plus a variety of imitation produced from the more standard instruments: roll on a Chinese cymbal for a James Blades, Percussion Instruments and Their History, The Bold Strummer, Ltd. 2005, p. 458 Ibid, p. 412 Ibid, p. 463 rough sea or, combined with a ratchet, for a forest fire; rifle fire from the side drum; a rim shot for the crack of the sheriff's revolver. A substitute for the rain machine was affected by placing a length offline chain on the timpani head, and playing a close tremolo with snare drum sticks. Horses galloping over the prairie involved 'timpani coperti', or snare drum without snares.
Coconut shells suggested a horse trotting on the cobblestones, with the addition of a loop of sleigh bells affixed to the wrist if the effect of a harness was required". "Playing the timpani part of an excerpt from a symphony with one hand, and winding a ratchet, rolling on a cymbal, or catching a pistol shot with the other was no mean feat.
These kind of effects were also integrated into more 'serious' orchestral music. The orchestration of Erik Satie's ballet Parade (1915), for example, included gunfire, typewriters, sirens and whips. 5 Shortly thereafter, theatre itself made its way into solo percussion repertoire: Adolph Schreiner's The Worried Drummer from the 1930s is a humoresque solo percussion piece that highlights the dexterity required to negotiate complex multi percussion set-ups. Scored for snare drum, bass drum, xylophone, timpani, cymbal, triangle, castanets, sleigh bells and chimes, the piece appears to ridicule the 'jack-of-all-trades' percussionist, who at times seems to have trouble traveling between and playing all of the instruments in his/her set-up. The initial purpose of the work was humour and mockery, as the soloist rushed from instrument to instrument in order to keep up with the music (piano or orchestral/band accompaniment), almost 'dancing' around the set-up.6 In the second half of the 20 th century there emerged a substantial and growing body of repertoire for percussion incorporating theatrical elements: text, movement, song and dance. One of the significant pioneers of this genre include John Cage, whose 1940 work Living Room Music included text; "The World is Round" by Gertrude Stein (1939).
Blades op cit, p. 464 http://www.angelfire.com/biz/musiclassical/satie.html http://www.alle-noten.de/index.php?link=http%3A//www.alle-noten.de/cgibin/search2a.cgi%3Fpnum%3D3082 "Once upon a time the world was round and you could go on it around and around".
Players were instructed to speak and strike anything in the room: magazines, newspapers, tables, books, floors and door frames. Cage made a special note for performers not to use conventional beaters.
Other pioneers of this genre include Slovenian born composer Vinko Globokar (b. 1934), who's vision of uniting music, song and speech came to fruition in the late 1960s.
Argentinian-born Mauricio Kagel (b. 1931) is most famous for his interest in developing the theatrical side of musical perfprmance.9 Renowned Italian composer Luciano Berio (1925 - 2003) composed many theatrical works for stage, and in 1960 scored a set of e e cummings' poems for harp, two percussionists and soprano (the percussionists and harpist also have spoken parts).
Renewed 1967, a Young Scott Book (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.) http://www.counterinduction.com/bio.php?personID=000004 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauricio_Kagel http://home.swipnet.se/sonoloco6/Mode/berio.html
3. Australian percussion: text, movement and music "The distinctive clapstick-playing heard in Aboriginal traditional music and some Aboriginal rock music is a reminder that there was a percussion tradition here long before European colonization" state Graeme Leak and John Whiteoak in the Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia.11 Western percussion first made its way to Australia in the drum-and-fife music of the first fleet in 1788. In the past century Australian percussion playing has come to greater prominence through the influences of immigration, liberal music education and 'world' music, as well as new-age music and the growing Asian and Pacific region.
As in Europe, America and elsewhere in the western world, percussionists in Australia were often employed to carry out less traditional (and more theatrical) musical roles.
Early Australian band compositions show that amateur band drummers were called upon to play other percussion devices (other than snare and bass). In Alex Lithgow 's Le Cirque (1907), for example, there are novelty percussion effects, including bird warbler, sleigh bells, triangle, cymbal, tambourine and castanets.
The theatre percussionist played an integral role in Australian circus music and variety theatre - later called vaudeville. Precursors to silent movie accompaniment in Australia included musical accompaniment to ballet, pantomime, unscripted variety acts and "tableaux vivants" (posing to create striking scenes)". 14 John Whiteoak et al, Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia, Currency House, 2003, p.
Ibid Ibid John Whiteoak, Playing AdLib, Currency Press, 1999, p. 60 The Australian percussion music of more modern times extends beyond the general contemporary classical and popular traditions. Multiculturalism since the early 1970s has increasingly revealed a wealth of diverse traditions of percussion-playing. Immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and the South Pacific have brought refined percussion sounds and techniques as well as different concepts of time, rhythm, improvisation and musical language.
Australian compositions, primarily those of Graeme Leak and Timothy Phillips, were my introduction to percussion works with text and/or movement, and formed an important part of my initial interest in this research topic. From the current professional ranks of